Tag Archives: community

San Diego III – Embracing a New Community

I can do the convention thing.

I love connecting with and old friends, learning, and growing. I love hearing what works for others and cheering them on. At the Life Force National Convention a special treat was meeting people who follow this blog and have shared it with friends and family. I can’t begin to explain how encouraging it is for a writer to know her words have made a difference.

I will admit to a few awkward moments, where people greeted me like an old friend. I’m sure they thought they knew me because they’d seen my weight loss pictures or blog, but I knew we’d never actually met. Still, it says something about the beauty of the community where a room is full of welcoming, smiling faces and hugs are offered freely.

san diego 63I awoke every morning to the sunrise through beautiful arched windows. Sharing a condo with others on my team was amazing. You get to know people when you see them with bed-hair first thing in the morning.

I loved doing real community where one person borrows my almond milk while another shares Vitali-C with me. Meanwhile I’m literally holding my knees together waiting for a turn at the bathroom at the same time I’m throwing clothes across the sofa for a friend to pick from because her suitcase was left behind.

I’m not my gifted daughter, who knows what to put with what and how to make everyone’s natural beauty shine, but I loved suggesting this necklace or that. Maybe the whole experience was a throw-back to my college days when people were everywhere and a fair amount of chaos abounded.

san diego 51

Getting ready for the gala was a huge family kind of moment. You should have seen us–grown women styling each other’s hair, sharing clothes and jewelry.

There were a few guys in our condo. Thankfully that night they were wise enough to mostly stay quiet and out of the way!

san diego 66

The one who put together this family lodge was the amazing Robin. She has a heart of gold and has been right there for me all the way, always working to ensure I have the best opportunities to learn and grow. Being with her in this very real environment only made me love her more.

She did the mom thing beautifully–encouraging everyone to go to bed so I could sleep (I’d opted for the couch–less $$ and the chance to be in the middle of the hub-bub of my new community), and getting  little sleep herself as she arose before dawn to do things like drive people to the airport. Robin did a lot of encouraging me on my freak-out day, which wasn’t this one and is for another story.

The gala that night was a ton of fun. I got to once-again wear my friend Megan DiMaria‘s beautiful dress.  I returned it last Saturday at a writer’s seminar. She introduced me to another friend of hers saying, “this is my friend Paula who’s taken my dress all over the country, and this is my friend who has taken my dresses all over the world.”

Thinking back to my first San Diego post all I can say to that is someday I plan to be the one taking dresses all over the world!

I could blab on forever about my experiences, but it seems like if you’re kind enough to read about my benew journey there ought to be a some kind-of take away value. As I think about it, the thought that rises to the surface is how important it is to surround yourself with good community. When considering a job, a volunteer organization, a business partner, a church, or anything else, let the kind of people that place attracts be a guide in your decision-making.

The reason we got involved with Life Force International initially was because we experienced such amazing results with the product. But the reason we chose to become involved in the business of LF was the community. Long before I saw this as anything but a new venture for my husband, he was all in. Why? He told me he’d rarely been in an organization who lived out servant leadership like LF does.

Now that I’m buying into this new business venture, I see what he means as I embrace this unique community, and it welcomes me.

When making choices about a job or other community, consider the people the place attracts.

Bazillion Duple

I’m not home yet. As this post releases I prepare to board a plane back to Denver after Sunday night’s excitement. But as I write the day is last Thursday. I prepare to leave home, to face the unknown of the Carol Awards.

I’m pre-scheduling my blog because I want to share my acceptance speech with you. I don’t know yet if I’ll actually get to say it, but win or lose it needs to be shared. Being chosen as a finalist for the Carol (no matter the outcome) is an honor that is not just mine alone.

Below are the words I’ve prepared. I’ve practiced them over and over, not because they are difficult to say, but because I can’t get through them without crying. Not those nice quiet tears, the loud, sobby ones. So deep is my gratitude. So deep is my passion.

Yes, it’s the acceptance speech I was asked to write, but really, it’s a thank you note, maybe even a love-letter, to all of you.

For this blog I must begin with the words . . .

Dear Friend,

The dedication for my novella includes these words, “to all my friends who ‘bazillion-dupled’ my joy of a first book contract.”

It seems a fitting way to open tonight.

Ours is not a solitary journey. For the Christian writer, we first hold onto our God for all we’re worth, empowered to persevere through success and disappointment, and then we hold hands with our friends. The true ones cheer us to victory and soothe the wounds of discouragement.

In 2004 when I joined ACFW I had no idea how valuable this group would become to me. I mostly wanted a discount to hear Francine Rivers speak! But almost ten years later I realize how invaluable this organization and each of you are to my journey.

Part of the road to becoming an author includes, at least for me, a lot of refinement, digging deep to find courage, and stretching. The ACFW prayer team prayed me through some of the most difficult years of my life, as did other dear friends and my sweet husband, Jerry. Brandilyn Collins committed to pray daily for a year for my children–and ended up praying for several.

wedding picture jerry and paula sarah's wedding

Editors, authors and critique partners offer wisdom and encouragement and teach me to write. Those who’ve gone before, like Kathy Kovach and Darlene Franklin, opened doors so I could follow, and Rebecca Germany, JoAnne Simmons, and Barbour Publishing took a chance on a newbie.

broadmoor 8

Posing this summer with my dear friend and writing partner, Kathy Kovach

Rebecca Germany

Rebecca Germany of Barbour Publishing and I pose at the Barbour party in Sept. of 2011 when Rebecca awarded me my first book contract

Last year when a car accident shut me and my writing down, my agent, Rachelle Gardner, offered wise council, loving me through the difficult curve in my path, and the editor I felt I’d disappointed offered me hope and grace instead of censure.

rachelle

Taken September of 2011 when I got my first book contract, and Rachelle won agent of the year!

What a community we have!

At home, my dear family daily enriches my life and cheers me on despite burned or forgotten dinners when I get lost in fictional worlds.

Grundy_051913_183521

Photo by Kim Liddiard of the Creative Pixel

Yes, I’ve persevered. I study hard to perfect craft. I’m intentional about learning how to become a professional, but when the rubber hits the road, this victory is not mine alone. It is a collective one, an honor given first to my God, then to each and every person who taught me, mentored me, prayed for me, and believed in me.

As we endeavor to write for our Lord Jesus Christ, believing we help shape eternity as we do, we need each other.

Thank you for being there for me. Sharing this moment with you bazillion-duples my joy.

Blessings,

moldenhauer signature3

Tweet it:

We need each other